Motahhari was born in Fariman village on 31 January 1919. He received primary education in Fariman. Then he attended the Hawza of Qom from 1944 to 1952 and left for Tehran. He joined the University of Tehran, where he taught philosophy for 22 years. Between 1965 and 1973 he also gave regular lectures at the Hosseiniye Ershad in Northern Tehran.
Motahari is a distinguished figure whose outstanding personality has earned him an everlasting place in the Islamic history.
He is considered among the important influences that shaped “the Islamic Republic“.
Motahari was tutored by his father before he joined Mashhad’s theological school at the age of 12.
Ayatollah Haj Agha Hossein Boroujerdi, Ayatollah Mirza Ali Agha Shirazi, Allameh Seyyed Mohammad Hossein Tabatabaei and Ayatollah Imam Khomeini were among his outstanding teachers.
Motahari did his best to educate the Muslim and combatant forces about the policies of the revolution and the concept of supreme jurisprudent’s leadership.
He was arrested several times by Savak (the intelligence agency of the now-defunct Pahlavi regime) for his revealing speeches along with 50 outstanding clerics.
Motahari played an important role in unifying two classes of students: from the universities and the theological schools. His speeches and classes were considered a threat to the ousted regime.
Before the victory of the Islamic Revolution, especially in the second half of 1978 when he had very heavy responsibilities, he did not neglect the task of promulgating the revolutionary Islamic culture.
Creating awareness among the younger generation was an important aim of Motahari and he has written many books for them, including “Dastan-e Rastan“ which received an award from UNESCO in 1965.
Motahari has also written many books on Islam, Iran and historical issues. He spent more time on giving lectures about Islam than writing books. However, after his death, some of his students compiled the notes of these lectures and published them as books.
Motahhari wrote several books on Islam, Iran, and historical topics. His emphasis was on teaching rather than writing. However, after his death, some of his students worked on writing these lectures and manage them in order to publish them as books. As of the mid-2008, the "Sadra Publishing's" published more than sixty books of Motahari. Nearly 30 books were written about Motahari or quoted from his speeches.
Morteza Motahhari opposed what he called groups who "depend on other schools, especially materialistic schools" but who present these "foreign ideas with Islamic emblems". In a June 1977 article he wrote to warn "all great Islamic authorities" of the danger of "these external influential ideas under the pretext and banner of Islam." It is thought he was referring to the People's Mujaheddin of Iran and the Furqan Group (Guruh-i Furqan).
This educationist and symbol of resistance was martyred by the most ignorant enemies of Islam and revolution, belonging to the Forqan group, on April 30,1979 in Tehran by gunshot by a member of the Furqan Fighters after leaving a late meeting at the house of Yadollah Sahabi. The group acclaimed the responsibility of the assassination. The alleged assassin was Akbar Goudarzi, who founded the group, leftist Islamic group.
Motahhari was the father in law of Iran's former secretary of National Security Council Ali Larijani. It was by Motahhari's advice that Larijani switched from computer science to Western Philosophy for graduate studies.
In honor of Motahhari, a major street in Tehran (formerly Takhte Tavoos--Peacock Throne in English) was named after him. Morteza Motahhari Street connects Sohrevardi Street and Vali Asr Street, two major streets in Tehran.